Teeth Whitening: At Home Treatments or In Chair Whitening?
Updated: Feb 17
Teeth whitening is one of the most requested dental procedures by patients today, as many of them wish to improve their facial aesthetics and have a radiant smile.
It is a procedure that aims to reduce the colour of the teeth in various shades and eliminate stains that these may present. This is achieved through the use of biocompatible whitening substances such as hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide.
When is it indicated?
Whitening can be performed to reduce or eliminate stains that are the result of:
✔Blows or fractures.
✔Use of medications such as tetracyclines (when taken during the period of formation of permanent teeth).
✔Dark drinks such as carbonated beverages, coffee and wine.
✔Prolonged use of chlorhexidine.
✔And even after a root canal treatment
How long does it last?
Its duration will be conditioned by several factors such as: the whitening substance used and its concentration, the technique used, the type of pigmentation present in the tooth, the patient's hygiene and care habits, etc.
In general, professional teeth whitening lasts approximately 2 to 3 years and at-home whitening procedures can last from weeks to months.
Keep in mind that if the patient brushes their teeth after every meal, flosses and reduces or avoids the consumption of foods with dyes, the whitening results can last much longer.
Teeth whitening at home
These procedures use over-the-counter products that reduce pigmentation.
Their ingredients include bleaching substances (hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide) or abrasive elements, the former offer better results. It can be used every day or several times a week.
Some people have shown sensitivity with prolonged use, so it is also a good option to alternate its use with a conventional fluoride toothpaste.
After a month of use you will begin to see results, which can last up to 3 months.
On its own it is not very effective, but it can be a good complement to other at-home teeth whitening techniques. With prolonged daily use, stains may fade somewhat.
Teeth whitening strips
They remove stains using hydrogen peroxide and even LED lights to enhance the process. As they can produce sensitivity their use must be controlled.
Results are maintained for approximately 6 months, making it a very good over-the-counter alternative.
Teeth whitening pens
They are recommended to reduce stains in specific areas of the tooth surface. Their result is quite modest and short-lasting.
At-home whitening gel trays
This procedure should only be performed under the supervision and indication of a dentist, since the bleaching agent used has a higher concentration than in over-the-counter products.
In addition, the frequency of use and duration are elements that must be controlled by a professional, since they vary in each patient depending on the complexity of the pigmentation.
The gel used is applied in teeth whitening trays that the patient holds in the mouth. The size of this tray is adapted to the size of the dental arch to avoid injury to the gums due to contact with the gel.
The duration of the results can range from several months to one year.
In-office teeth whitening procedure
It is indicated after performing a diagnostic evaluation and establishing the most appropriate treatment plan. The dentist applies hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide on the front surface of the anterior teeth, and to accelerate this process can also make use of a teeth whitening LED light.
It is important to mention that before starting this treatment the dentist must perform a prophylaxis to remove dental plaque and tartar. In addition, the patient must be free of tooth decay and periodontal disease.
Cavities are a contraindication to perform this treatment because hydrogen peroxide can penetrate through them causing intense pain to the patient.
The results can last from 1 to 3 years as long as the patient maintains good hygiene habits and takes care of their diet.
How much does teeth whitening cost?
Professional teeth whitening in Perth, WA can cost anywhere from $500 to $1000 or more, this can vary depending on the type of product used and the fees charged by the dentist per consultation.
In relation to this there is a very important point that we should not overlook: Due to the high teeth whitening cost, there are those who choose to buy teeth whitening kits on the internet which can be very dangerous.
Many of these kits lack sanitary control or contain a concentration of hydrogen peroxide so high that it can affect the integrity of the teeth. This causes thinning of the enamel and the formation of grooves on the tooth surface that can expose the dentin and cause hypersensitivity.
We therefore advise you not to be tempted to buy any of these kits. When it comes to our health, it will always be preferable to pay a little more for an in-office treatment performed by a professional with the necessary knowledge and with a product that has higher quality standards.
Otherwise, another viable option is to opt for one of the over-the-counter procedures mentioned above.
Is teeth whitening painful? Is it a safe procedure?
Yes, it is safe and painless as long as it is performed under the supervision of a dentist, biocompatible bleaching agents are used and with an adequate concentration.
It is worth mentioning that although it is painless in some patients and with prolonged use it can produce a certain degree of sensitivity.
Teeth whitening side effects
- As mentioned above, some patients may experience tooth sensitivity. In normal situations, this is usually temporary.
- Gum burns. This can occur when the gums are not adequately protected with insulating material when performing teeth whitening at the dentist, or when the tray used (both in-office and at home) is not properly adapted to the size of the dental arch.
This injury is usually mild and temporary.
- Gastrointestinal irritation. This occurs when there is an accidental ingestion of the bleaching substance. It may also be accompanied by a burning sensation in the throat.
- Damage and weakening of tooth structure. When a bleaching agent is used in excessive concentration and for longer than recommended.
How often can it be performed?
Since the results of tooth whitening can last from weeks to years, the frequency of whitening will depend on the type of procedure performed, the patient's habits and the quality of the dental tissue.
At-home procedures can be performed continuously as long as they are well tolerated by the patient and do not cause hypersensitivity. And the in-office treatment can be reinforced annually to maintain its effects.
Factors to consider before teeth whitening
If you are interested not only in teeth whitening but also in other cosmetic dentistry treatments such as veneers, you should know that ceramic or composite veneers do not suffer from the effects of bleaching agents.
This means that when both procedures are within the treatment plan, whitening should be done first and then veneers.